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Fancy a faster Fiesta ST? There’s an app for that

Ford Fiesta ST Mountune M225

If you fancy a little more power from your Ford Fiesta ST, Mountune has the answer. Its new M225 upgrade sees the peak power increased from 200hp to 225hp, reducing the 0-60mph time from 6.5 seconds to “below the 6-second mark”.

But that’s not all, because Mountune has also unveiled an MTune Smartflash app, which allows users to install and update vehicle calibrations from their smartphone. 

Using nothing but the app and a supplied Bluetooth OBD interface, Fiesta ST owners can tweak the car to their needs as well as updating their vehicle to the latest calibrations directly from Mountune. 

The pack includes the OBD adapter, MTune Smartflash app, three calibrations (Performance, Stock and Anti-Theft), high-flow induction kit, Mountune badge and zip-up shell cars. It costs £662.50, or £479.16 for owners who have already upgraded their induction kit.

Switch modes in just two minutes

Fiesta Mountune badge

“Smartflash makes it incredibly easy for our customers to switch between vehicle calibrations in as little as two minutes, just using their phone,” said David Moore, director of Mountune Performance.

“It adds a new level of convenience and functionality to our packages and embodies our forward-thinking approach to vehicle performance upgrades. The new Fiesta ST is the perfect platform to launch this DIY-friendly, pioneering technology. No laptop, no wires, no handsets – no problem!”

The Fiesta ST’s peak power is boosted to 225hp, while torque is increased from 213lb ft to 250lb ft, with Mountune claiming that with the upgrade, the 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo engine delivers torque earlier and across the rev range.

In Performance mode, the Fiesta ST M225 delivers a more aggressive launch control strategy and enhanced audible exhaust output in Sport and Track modes. Stock mode returns the Fiesta to its standard configuration, while Anti-Theft fully immobilises the vehicle.

Mountune Ford Fiesta ST

“With M225 and our innovative new Smartflash system, owners can safely increase the performance of the Fiesta ST with unprecedented ease,” added David.

“With that almost instantaneous delivery of torque the ST really comes alive, but you also have peace of mind in knowing that this is an engineered upgrade. As with all Mountune packages, the M225 has undergone extensive performance and durability testing with all safety parameters retained.

“This is not just the best upgrade for the Fiesta ST, it is also the most robust.”

‘The faster you drive, the better you drive’

Ford Fiesta STWe have little doubt that the Mountune upgrade will add another layer of enjoyment to the Fiesta ST. Of the standard car, our man Richard Aucock said: “You can perhaps by now tell we think the Fiesta ST is a class act.

“It sounds a bit like a Porsche 911 and drives even more like one, exuding immense depth and connoisseur’s breeding. The faster you drive, the better you drive, the more it gives back – while doing all the regular Ford Fiesta stuff like being compact in town, easy to handle and comfortable to drive daily.

“The new Ford Fiesta ST really is that good. Five stars? You bet. After this first drive, if we could give it six, we would…”

Time to give the Mountune upgrade a spin, Richard? We can think of 225 reasons why this might be a good idea.

Legendary fast Fords up for auction – which would you choose?

CCA fast Ford sale

You could get your hands on a superb set of legendary fast Fords at the upcoming Classic Car Auctions sale.

The auction takes place on March 23 and 24 at the NEC in Birmingham, as part of the Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration show.

Spanning the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, this foursome of fast Fords includes everything from a blue-collar American V8 to a quintessential hot hatch. 

Ford Escort Mk2 RS2000 X-Pack

CCA NEC

CCA calls this ‘the real stand out car’: a genuine, unmodified 1977 Escort RS2000 X-Pack, with 30-year same-family ownership, dry storage and a comprehensive history file. It’s estimated to go for between £30,000 and £38,000.

We think that’s pretty reasonable for what is a prime slice of ’70s everyman bravado. Those bulbous arches alone have our chequebook twitching.

Ford Escort RS1600i and Fiesta XR2

CCA NEC Ford

Among the poster children of Ford’s performance car golden era are the Escort RS 1600i and the Fiesta XR2.

The Escort has been subject to a full restoration and is thought to be one of just 95 left on the road. It was a rare car when new, with just 2,500 thought to have been produced for the UK market.

Granted, 79,000 miles sounds a little leggy, but with the right care, that’s nothing. It looks in top nick for £20,000 to £25,000.

CCA NEC

The Fiesta, while an example of a model that was famous for use and abuse by owners, has been in storage since 1986.

Having covered just 23,670 miles since it was bought in 1984, and with good history to boot, we reckon it’s worth every penny of the £14,000 to £18,000 estimated.

Ford Mustang CS GTS

CCA fast Ford sale

The Mustang CS GTS is an example of Ford’s pony car that British buyers could only have dreamed of in 1968, The CS GTS is a rare version, with just 3,867 built. That’s small numbers for a Mustang, believe us.

What isn’t small is the figure on the odometer. This pony has run a few nationals in its day, with 105,430 miles on the clock.

It has been extensively restored within the past 15 years, with photographic evidence to back that up. It’s got a good history of maintenance, so the mileage shouldn’t put anyone off bidding up to the £20,000 – £25,000 estimate.

You can buy a Mountune racing-style gearbox for your Ford Focus

Mountune sequential gearbox

Mountune is dealer-sanctioned Ford tuning company, happy to turn your hot hatch into a Porsche-bothering beast. And now, racing-style gearboxes are on the menu.

Owners of Mk2 Focus models (primarily the ST and RS) as well as some Volvos, can buy a new Quaife QKE45Z sequential transmission to add a touch of rally magic to their modern classic.

The gear set retains the original bell housing, so it shouldn’t be too expensive an upgrade. Changes include a strengthened outer casing, a custom breather as well as, obviously, the gears themselves and shifter. The gears are also thicker for added strength. You can get Geartronic ignition cut for flat-shifting, too…

Mountune sequential gearbox

Anything with the Ford M66 transmission can be upgraded, including more powerful Mk2 Focus models, as well as some Volvo C30, S40, V50, S60, C70 and V70 cars. For everything other than a Ford Focus RS, Mountune recommends you get a limited-slip diff for good measure. The RS came with one out of the box. 

“We are excited to bring Mk2 Focus owners the quick and consistent Quaife sequential gearbox they’ve always wanted, available exclusively through Mountune,” said David Moore, director of Mountune Performance.

“It provides a great performance upgrade over the standard manual shifter and feels extremely engaging as a driver. It’s always exciting to provide our customers with the opportunity to transform and enhance the way their cars drive, and this is no exception.”

Mountune sequential gearbox

It’s a comfort to us that a company as ‘official’ as Mountune is still looking at older cars.

Could we see it take on ‘Singer’ style classic fast Ford builds in the future? Now, wouldn’t that be something…

Ford Focus is first car with seats certified against back pain

Back pain driverBack pain affects around half of European Union citizens at some point in their lives, with a recent survey finding that 75 percent of UK drivers will suffer thanks to the wrong seating position.

But Ford claims the new Focus can provide relief for back pain sufferers thanks to the optional comfort seats for the driver and front-seat passenger.

The seats can be adjusted in 18 ways for support and comfort – earning the Focus the seal of approval from Aktion Gesuner Rücken e.V. (AGR), a German group campaigning for healthier backs.

To obtain the seal, the seat must be able to adapt to the person in their sitting position, rather than the person adapting their position to the seat. The Focus is the first vehicle to receive AGR recognition. 

Ford Focus

“Sitting in the wrong position can make the driver slouch forward, putting pressure on the lower back, said Glen Goold, Ford Focus chief programme engineer.

“Our goal with the Focus was to build an 18-way adjustable seat that adapts to every person, enabling drivers of all shapes and sizes to easily achieve their optimal sitting position for maximum comfort, especially on long journeys.”

The Focus’ seats 18-way adjustment includes seat height, length and inclination, in addition to back, neck and thigh support. The four-way lumbar adjustment is controlled from a switch on the side of the seat.

‘The fight against back pain’

“The ergonomic quality of a car‘s seats is of utmost importance, especially for frequent drivers. We’re delighted that Ford is joining in the fight against back pain by making comfort seats available for even more people,” said Detlef Detjen, managing director, AGR.

Comfort seats are a £300 option on Style, Zetec and Titanium models, and the Focus range starts from £18,300.

Hot new 2019 Ford Focus ST: 10 things you need to know

New Ford Focus ST

Ford says its new Ford Focus ST ‘blends track day performance, B-road fun and everyday usability, without compromise’. It’s packing some serious tech previously the preserve of supercars.

If all of that holds true, and that tech is there for the better, it should be a class-leading hot hatch. We break down the new 280hp Focus ST’s highlights with 10 fast facts.

It has a Mustang engine

New Ford Focus ST

No, that doesn’t mean the 400 horsepower-plus Coyote V8 sits atop the front wheels. The 280 horsepower ecoboost four-cylinder is actually from the ‘lesser’ Mustang, but the commonality (and the kudos) is there. Displacing 2.3-litres, it also packs 420Nm of pulling power.

There is a diesel

New Ford Focus ST

Praise be! There is a diesel and it’s a corker. How does 190 horsepower, and 400Nm of torque sound? That pulling power is available from as little as 2,000rpm, too. That’s all fine but what you really want to know is how frugal it is… Unfortunately, there aren’t any mpg figures yet but expect over 50mpg at least.

Its brakes are four times better

New Ford Focus ST

Yes, you read that right. Four-times improved rate of brake fade. That’s quite the improvement and music to the ears of any enthusiasts wanting to point their fast Ford at a track day. How did they manage it? Rigorous testing procedures first used to verify hardware for the 650hp Ford GT supercar. Yes, the very same Ford GT you can’t buy because you’re not on the list, even if you do have the requisite £500,000 in the kitty. Rarified breeding for the new fast Focus, then…

It’s quicker than an RS from 10 years ago

New Ford Focus ST

The 2.5-litre 300 horsepower Focus RS warbler of 2009 had a claimed 0-62mph time of 5.9 seconds. Without quoting an exact time, Ford reckons the new ST is good for 62 in ‘under six seconds’. The new ST is only 20 horsepower and 20Nm of torque shy of the old RS, but can still hang with it.

It has a Ferrari-style e-diff

New Ford Focus ST

Ford seems very proud of the fact that the new ST is packing its first eLSD for a front-wheel-drive car. Electronic limited-slip differentials have been around for a while, first appearing on the road in Ferrari’s F430. Now, 15 years on from that car’s debut, you can get the same technology on a mid-level Ford hot hatch. The system uses hydraulically-activated clutches to divert as much as 100 percent of the engine’s power to the wheel with the most grip, and takes instruction from the car’s arsenal of sensors.

It has four driving modes

New Ford Focus ST

This is key to Ford’s claim that the new Focus ST is a jack of all trades and a master of most. Wet, normal, sport and track do what they say on the tin. The latter is only available with the optional performance pack. It adds weight to the steering for a more satisfying action, increases braking response, tightens up the adaptive dampers (CCD) and, activates the anti-lag…

It has anti-lag

New Ford Focus ST

That’s right, the new Ford Focus ST has anti-lag. No, not quite like the Focus rally car of the late 90s and early 2000s but very similar to the system used on the Ford GT. The system keeps the throttle in even when you left off, to keep the turbo spinning and ready for your next request for power. Whether it’ll sit spitting flames on a limiter pre-launch is another question. The GT has something of a limiter bounce on launch, albeit without the rally-style fireworks… We can’t wait to try it out.

The diesel is more powerful than the original Focus ST

New Ford Focus

The original Focus ST is now 17 years old, which is why it’s perhaps unsurprising that the very latest diesel ST has more muscle. The ST170 had… you guessed it… 170 horsepower. The new oil-burning ST lite has 190. What’s actually more impressive is that the new diesel car has over twice the torque, with that 400Nm playing 195 in the first-generation car.

It’s got a twin-scroll turbo

New Ford ST

Okay, we’re getting a bit nerdy with it now. The thing is, the last generation ST was fairly unremarkable. This new car is exciting precisely because of some of this up-spec tech that Ford has given it. Adaptive dampers, changeable drive modes, an electronic diff, anti-lag; all stuff that’s ordinarily the preserve of supercars, as are twin-scroll turbos. First made famous on the Porsche 959 and later on, the 911 Turbo, they dramatically reduce lag. In the case of the old porkers, they used to say it gets rid of it. Ford isn’t making any such lofty claims, merely saying that ‘engine response is enhanced’.

It’s on sale in summer 2019

New Ford ST

For our final fast fact, it’s what you really want to know: when can you have one? Best get on the phone to your Ford dealer now, because it lands in the summer. We have tentative high hopes for this one: it sounds like it could be just the machine to fill that Focus RS-shaped hole in our lives.

Ford is using lights to help autonomous cars ‘communicate’ with pedestrians

Ford is engineering a light-based language to help autonomous cars communicate with pedestrians.

Just as there is almost a unique sign/mime-based language that drivers use to communicate with each other as well as pedestrians, Ford has surmised that a similar dedicated language can be developed for autonomous cars to ‘communicate’.

Using lights to, if you will, indicate what a car is doing seems like nothing new, but the system is a little more sophisticated than flashing ambers at either side of a car.

Testing, in conjunction with the Chemnitz University of Technology in Germany, involved a Transit Connect rigged with lights on the top and crucially, a hidden driver. The ‘human car seat’ to hide the driver made it easier for observers to gauge bystanders reactions to the lights, rather than their responding to the driver behind the wheel.

“Fundamentally, people need to trust autonomous vehicles and developing one universal visual means of communication is a key to that. Turning someone into a ‘Human Car Seat’ was one of those ideas when there was a bit of a pause and then the realisation that this was absolutely the best and most effective way of finding out what we needed to know,” said Thorsten Warwel, Ford of Europe core lighting manager.

Ford lights autonomous cars communication pedestrians

Of the 173 people surveyed, 60 percent thought it was an autonomous vehicle. Those surveyed, combined with observations of a further 1,600 people found that turquoise was the best colour for lights for noticeability and is less easily confused with red than purple is. Trust in the signals the lights were giving was encouraging, too, thus providing a basis to develop the ‘language’.

With autonomous cars due to take to roads around the world from 2021 onwards, the hurdle of communication between humans and self-driving vehicles needs to be cleared.

Ford lights autonomous cars communication pedestrians

“Making eye contact is important – but our study showed that first and foremost road users look to see what a vehicle is doing. The next step is to look at how we can ensure the light signals are made clearer and more intuitive,” said Dr Matthias Beggiato of the university’s department of psychology.

You could have 400hp for £595… if you already have a Ford Focus RS

Ford Focus RS Mountune

Own a third-generation Ford Focus RS? Fancy having power levels underfoot not alien to Ferraris from 20 years ago? Look no further than Mountune, the warrantied skunkworks performance division that can bestow a third-gen Focus RS with 400hp. Better yet, it’ll sell you that power for £595.

Two upgrade packages are available. Both the M400R and M400X do what they say on the tin – deliver 400hp in a Ford Focus RS. The M400R package takes over where the M400 left off and the M400X allows that figure using the RS’s standard turbocharger.

While delivering 400hp, the R package also allows alternative calibrations for increased usability and functionality. Two new maps make for a well-rounded proposition. In total, the 400R, OEM, fuel economy and valet mode are featured. You can also adjust your RPM limit, launch control set points, flat shifting and dyno mode. You can adjust your valet and anti-theft modes and can easily retrofit custom gauges and data-logging.

M400X takes all of the above, with even better-optimised power and torque curves, improving response and mid-range performance.

Both packages, as aforementioned, weigh in at just £595. Those with pre-existing Mountune handsets can get the new software online and update their machines for added functionality on their driveway… for free.

Ford Focus RS Mountune

What’s the catch? Well, Mountune is fairly insistent that there is some extra hardware required “to ensure the RS achieves the desired performance safely”.

“The Focus RS is a fantastic vehicle to drive and the platform responds extremely well to our performance upgrades,” explains David Moore, director of Mountune Performance.

“With these two kits, the power and torque are now exceptional both in quantity and delivery. This is particularly true of M400X which turns the RS into something truly phenomenal. We are also proud to provide legacy M400 owners with a free upgrade to M400R. This will give them additional features and functionality and demonstrates the commitment we make to providing the best for our loyal customers.”

Timewarp 1978 Ford Fiesta

This timewarp 1978 Ford Fiesta has covered just 141 miles

Between 1980 and 2017, a 1978 Ford Fiesta 950 was displayed at The Science Museum in London. That very same car is now up for auction on 2 February, and its ‘timewarp’ condition means the estimated selling price could be as much as £8,500.

H&H Classics is auctioning the car, and its head of sales Damian Jones says it is “truly a one-off.

“This is a highly original and authentic Ford Fiesta… it is perhaps the lowest mileage Ford Fiesta Mk1 existing.”

Built in July 1978, it was originally supplied to London dealer ‘Ford Personal Import / Export Ltd’ at 8 Balderton Street, W1. Clearly, there was little demand either home or abroad for it: by 1980, it still hadn’t been registered or driven. 

The Science Museum duly acquired it, and used it in an exhibition called ‘Glimpses of Medical History’. It formed part of a diorama that showed an elderly person getting in and out of a car. It remained on display on the same floor of the museum until 2015. 

The floor was then closed for refurbishment -and new lifts were installed, whose narrower doors meant the Fiesta couldn’t be removed. Alarmingly, it was suggested the Fiesta be chopped up and removed in pieces. 

It was sheer luck that Darren Wisdom was working on the site in 2017. When he heard of the plans, he suggested an alternative: he removed the engine, gearbox and interior to save weight, then lowered the Fiesta to the ground using a special jig he constructed. 

Wisdom then recommissioned the Fiesta and actually gave the car its very first MOT on 19 April 2018.

His reward? An £11,550 sale to a Mr. Richard Jordan on 29 June 2018. It’s now up for sale again – surprisingly, with a lower estimate price of between £6,500 or £8,500. 

Today, the odometer shows just 141 miles (around three and a half miles per year). And don’t take our word for the amazing condition of the car, either. Paul Kingham from the Ford GT Historic Register was blown away by the car’s condition, last year inspecting the car and concluding: 

“I can confirm that all key aspects of the vehicle are authentic and original including chassis, suspension, steering, transmission, matching original engine and even its paintwork.

“The vehicle has never previously been UK registered due to it being displayed/stored at the Museum since 1980 when they received delivery from the manufacturer’s showroom, and it is still in remarkably pristine ‘as new’ condition with effectively just its original delivery mileage recorded.”

Surely that’s worth at least £6,500 of anyone’s money? On 2 February, we’ll find out, and will be sure to update you.

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Ford and Volkswagen to build pick-ups, vans together – and maybe electric cars

Volkswagen Amarok and Ford Ranger pickup trucksVolkswagen and Ford have announced a global alliance that will lead to the introduction of a new dual-brand pick-up truck in 2022, quickly followed by a commercial van partnership.

The two automotive giants have also committed to explore potential collaborations on electric cars, along with autonomous vehicles and mobility services. Future vehicle collaborations may thus be announced in the future – potentially in a matter of months.

Both companies stressed it is purely an alliance; there is no cross-ownership between the two firms. Savings from the alliance are expected from 2023. 

Volkswagen Transporter

“Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society,” Ford CEO Jim Hackett said.

“It will not only drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness, but also gives us the opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility.”

Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess said: “Volkswagen and Ford will harness our collective resources, innovation capabilities and complementary market positions to even better serve millions of customers around the world.

“At the same time, the alliance will be a cornerstone for our drive to improve competitiveness.” 

British boon?

2018 Ford Transit Custom

Both the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok pick-ups will be due for replacement around 2022, which is why the first stage of the alliance is timely.

The next step, to develop replacements for the Ford Transit and Volkswagen Transporter, could be a boon for British automotive. In the announcement, it was confirmed Ford will take the lead to build new large commercial vans for European customers.

2019 Volkswagen Caddy

Volkswagen, in turn, will develop a city van for the two firms, replacing the current Volkswagen Caddy (above) and Ford Transit Connect.

The alliance will enable the companies to share development costs, leverage their respective manufacturing capacity, boost the capability and competitiveness of their vehicles and deliver cost efficiencies, while maintaining distinct brand characteristics.

Ford ‘Robutt’ simulates 10 years of sweaty seat use

Ford Robutt seat testing

Answering the questions some of us, if not all, are asking, is Ford. Namely, ‘will getting into my car after a sweaty workout ruin the seats?’. As it’s 2019, the solution had to be high-tech and robotic and as it’s January, this isn’t an April fool… 

It’s not a solution as such, but the Ford ‘Robutt’ can simulate 10 year’s worth of seat abuse in the space of three days. Yes, that includes sweaty bums sliding in and out after perspiration-tastic sessions at the gym.

Ford Robutt seat testing

The device is quite literally a prosthetic bottom attached to a rig that is pressed into a lucky test seat. It simulates posterior-seat contact with twists and bounces over 7,500 times over three days.

Included in that is also 450 millilitres of water testing to simulate sweat. The Robutt is heated to 36 degrees and in terms of dimensions and weight, simulates that of a somewhat larger-framed person.

Does that make Ford the marque of choice for fitness enthusiasts? As hilarious as a robotic bottom designed to test the endurance of a seat sounds, to a degree, yes. If you’re a regular attendee of the gym, a runner or otherwise, it ought to be good to know that your seats are tested up to 10 year’s worth of abuse.

Of course, other manufacturers probably carry out similar endurance tests but this is an intriguing look at this back end, if you will, of car development.

Ford Robutt seat testing

It’s particularly timely, as Ford is eager to point out, given that early-to-mid January is the time of year when everyone is out getting sweaty per their fitness-themed New Year’s resolutions.

“Cars are a part of our everyday lives, and at this time of year in particular, so is exercise,” said Florian Rohwer, development engineer, Body and Chassis Labs, Ford of Europe. “The ‘Robutt’ is a great way to check our seats will look good for years to come.”

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